Clara NiiSka
 

class paper - cultural semantics


EMOTIONS IN ICELANDIC


There are two terms in Icelandic, Tilfinning and Kennd, which partially translate the English word, "emotion."

Another term, viðkræmur, appeared in sentences but were not explored.



Tilfinning can be specified as góð tilfinning (good emotion), sterk tilfinning (strong emotion) and ánægouleg tilfinning (pleasant emotion).  Icelandic sentences (with both back translations and word-by-word glosses) using these are:

Ég | hef  | á  | tilfinningunni | að   | þeð | fari | að svyóa.
 I | have | on | the feeling    | that | it  | will | snow.

"I feel that it's going to snow."


Ég | hef  | á  | tilfinningunni | að   | þrí | hafir | rélt  | fyrir | þér.
 I | have | on | the feeling    | that | you | have  | right | for   | you.

"I feel that you're right," which can also be said as:

Mér | finnst | þrí | hafa | rélt  | fyrir | þer.
I   | feel   | you | have | right | for   | you.


Kennd
is described as an "archaic concept," used less than tilfinning, translating into English as both "to know" and "to feel."  One sentence frame using Kennd is: Að kenna til _______, where possible completions of the frame include:

Að | kenna | til : ×einhvers ...  ×reiði ... ×kviða.
I  | felt  |     : ×something ... ×anger ... ×anxiety.

"I felt something ... anger ... anxiety."


In this sentence frame, finna [another grammatical form of tilfinning] can be substituted for kenna without affecting the English gloss.  All of the specific emotion-terms subsequently explored can be used in this sentence.


Idiomatic English sentences regarding emotion, when translated into Icelandic (and back-translated into English):


"He expressed his emotions easily."

Hann | átti | auðvelt | með | að | týa | tilfinningar | sínnar.
He   |      |         |     |    |     | emotions     | his.

Back-translated into English, there is no change.


"He is showing a lot of emotion," or "He was very emotional."

Han | er  | mýóg | tilfinningaðmur.
He  | was | very | emotional.

Back-translated into English, there is no change.



"Don't be emotional."

Euni | vera | sroma | viðkræmur.
     | be   |       | emotional.

Back-translated into English, there is no change.


"He was emotionless."

Hann | var | tinfinningalauss.
He   | was | without emotion.

Back-translated into English, there is no change.


"It was an emotional moment."

Það | var | tilfinningaþrungið | augnazlik.
It  | was | emotion-filled     | moment.

Back-translated into English, there is no change.



"I felt conflicting emotions."

Ég | fann | tilfinningar | togast | á.
I  | felt | emotions     |        |    .

Back-translated into English, there is no change.



            Five emotion-words in Icelandic (all of which are categorized as belonging in the domain described by tilfinning are:

Reiði  =
  anger
Ást  =   love
Reiður  =   hate
Ótti  =   fear
Ánægja  =   pleasure



                                                               ANGER and REIÐI

Gauti Sigþórsson amended Wierzbicka's definition of the English word, "anger," using her semantic primitives, to:

            x thinks something like this
            this person (y) does something bad/does not do something
            I don't want this
            I would want to do something bad to this person
            because of this, x feels something bad toward y
            because of this, x wants to do something


Gauti and I discussed preliminary sentence-frames in English which were designed to test various possible parameters of "reiði" in Icelandic:

"I feel angry when _____________."

Ég | verð | reiðdur | þegar | hann | móðgar  | mig.
I  | get  | angry   | when  | he   | insults | me.

Back-translated into English, there is no change.

"... a dog bites me" was also considered a possible entry into this frame, but was not translated into Icelandic.

"Anger is a very childish emotion" was rejected as not being expressive of Icelandic parameters of anger.


"I am so angry, I could ________________."

Ég | er | svo | reiðuræ | ég | gæti ... ×fýlt hann ... ×dreþið hann ... ×grátið.
I  | am | so  | angry   | I  | could... ×fight him ... ×kill him    ... ×cry.

"... kill myself" and "go punch somebody" were rejected as not being expressive of Icelandic parameters of anger.


"I am angry at ___________________."

Ég | er | reiður | við ... ×hundinn | minn ... ×þjóðverjana.
I  | am | angry  | with... ×dog     | mine ... ×the stranger.

"... the Germans," "my sister," and (parenthetically), "the fates" were included as plausible in this sentence frame.  "My car," "the weather," and "my rosebush" were rejected because the target of anger in Icelandic is animate.  "A stranger" was rejected because the target of reiði must be specific.


He got so angry, he went beserk.

Hann | gekk   | berserksgang | af   | reið.
He   | became | beserk       | with | anger.

Back-translated into English, there is no change.


During our discussion of the lexicalization of anger in Icelandic, other sentences emerged:

"He controlled his anger."

Hann | hafði | stjórn  | á  | reiði | sinni.
He   | had   | control | of | anger | his.


"I got angry because he kicked my dog."

Ég | varð | reiður | af | þri | að | hann | sparkadði | í | hundinn | minn.
I  | was  | angry  | at | him | as | he   | kicked    |   | dog     | my.


"Anger drove him forth."

Reiðin | rule  | hann | áfrom.
Anger  | drove | him  | forth/forward.


"Her infidelity aroused his anger."

Ótryggð    | hennar | valeti        | reiði | hans.
Infidelity | her    | aroused/awoke | anger | his.


"He lost his mind in anger."

Hann | vað    | vitstola     | af   | reiði.
He   | became | sense-stolen | with | anger.


"She got terribly angry."

Hún | reiddist  | ógurlega.
She | got angry | terribly.


"The anger of the gods fell on him."

Reiði | guðanna             | steyptist     | yfir | hann.
Anger | the gods (genitive) | fell/showered | over | him.



                                                                LOVE AND ÁST

"Love" in Icelandic is described by Gauti Sigþórsson as being much more limited in scope than the English word, specifically that the loved one must be animate and capable of reciprocating.  The possibility of loving one's dog was a marginal case, reflecting what Gauti termed the devaluation of the term "ást" under American influence.


            Preliminary sentence frames:

"I love _____________."
Ég | elska ... ×fonuna | mína ... ×þjoð   | mína ... ×börnin   | mín.
I  | love  ... ×wife   | my   ... ×nation | my   ... ×children | my.


"... my cousin," "this land," "my country," "my mother," my dead grandfather,"  and  "my wife" were considered appropriate for this sentence-frame.  "flowers," "this movie," "my car," "cake," "to ski," and "going for long walks" were rejected.


The sentence-frame "Because I love x, I ____________ [cry, give them food, hug/kiss x, pine away, miss them, keep them/it safe, have sexual intercourse (want to 'make love'), etc.]" was accepted as plausible without being translated.


The sentence frame, "I know that I am in love when _____________" was translated as,

   Ég | veit | að | ég | er | ástfanginn | þegar | ég | lít  | í  | augu | hennar.
   I  | know |    | I  | am | in love    | when  | I  | look |into| eyes | her.

"I know that I am in love when I look into her eyes," but other possible completions of the frame were not explored.


The sentence-frame, "I love it when _________________ [the sun is shining, my boss praises me, etc.]" was rejected as being a non-Icelandic expression of love.


Other Icelandic sentences were:

Ástin | genði | hann | glaðan.
Love  | made  | him  | glad.

"Love made him glad."


Ég | er |  ásk|fanginn.
I  | am | love|captured/prisoned.

"I am in love."


Áskin | er | eins | og |     simel|dus.
Love  | is | like |    | dry grass|fire.

"Love is like a brush-fire."


Áskin | fost   | hvorki  | keypt  | né  | seld.
Love  | can be | neither | bought | nor | sold.

Ég | hef  | fundið | áskina.
I  | have | found  | (the) love.

Kveilyum     |  ásk|areld.
Let us light | love|fire of (genitive).

"Let us light the fire of love."


Ég | elska | þig.
I  | love   | you.


Ég | elska | smábörn.
I  | love  | babies.


Ég | vil     | elskast  | met  | henni.
I  | want to | makelove | with | her.


Ég | elda | fyrir | hana | þri     | ég | elska | hana.
I  | cook | for   | her  | because | I  | love  | her.



                                                             HATE AND REIÐUR

Preliminary sentence-frames included:

"I hate ______________________"
Ég | hatta ___ ... ×hetti ... ×hrítkád ...
I  | hate          ×cats  ... ×cabbage ...


"Adolf Hitler," "Russia," and "cold weather" were considered as reasonable substitutions in this sentence-frame.

Although it is an acceptable grammatical form, my informant did not translate "my brother" for this sentence-frame because he does not hate his brother.  "Ghosts" was problematic in this frame.



"Because s/he ___________________, I hate him/her."
Ég | hata | hann | af þrí  | hann | hrýtur.
I  | hate | him  | because | he   | snores.


"He hated him for ________."  This context of this sentence-frame (ie. the possible answers provided) implied time.

Hán | hataði | hann | næsta    : ×áriðid  ... ×mánuðin.
He  | hated  | him  | the next : ×year ...    ×month.


"Month" was considered about the minimum possible time for hatred.

"He hated him so much that he ________."

Hann | hataði | hann | svo | mikið | að   | hann : ×dreþið | hann ...
He   | hated  | him  | so  | much  | that | he   : ×killed | him  ...
×brenndi | húsi | hann ... ×lamið | hann | i  | klessu
×        |      | him  ... ×beat  | him  | to | pulp

"Hatred is ___________"

Hatur  | er | af | hinu : ×illa ... ×réttlætanlegt ... ×synd
Hatred | is |           " ×evil ... ×justifiable   ... ×a sin


The sentence-frame, "Because of his hatred, he ___________________" was considered reasonable in Icelandic when completed with the clause,  "stalked the killer for the rest of his life," but not with the clause "got drunk."


Other sentences, which originated with the Icelandic, included:

Hatrið            | rale  | hann | áfram.
(the) hate/hatred | drove | him  | forth.

Hann | er | gagnetiluán | af | hatri.
He   | is | consumed    | by | hate.

Ég | hata | þig.
I  | hate | you.

Hann | hatar | pönleara.
He   | hates | punks.

  | er | hötuð | af | lýðnum.
She | is | hated | by | the people. [eg., Margaret Thatcher]


Hatrið   | er | dyúpstrett     | milli   | þerrh.
The hate | is | deeply founded | between | them.

Ér | hata | túlipana.
I  | hate | tulips.



                                                 FEAR AND ÓTTI [and HRÆÐSLA]


"The _________ was afraid."

Maðurium | var | hræðður : hunndin
         |     |         : dog


"Man," "woman," horse," bird," and "cat" were all considered appropriate for this sentence-frame.  I did not ask about inanimate objects, nor about plants.


"He is afraid of ____________________"

Hann | er | hræðð     : ×tranga ...
He   | is | afraid of : ×ghosts ...


"the dark," "bad fortune," "dogs," "Russians," "a crop failure," "lightning," "death," "hell," and "murderers," were all considered appropriate for this sentence-frame.  I did not ask about inanimate objects nor plants.

Hann | dó   | meshum þri | af | hræðslu.
He   | died | almost     | of | fear.


"Wanted to disappear" was considered an inappropriate consequence to fear, although "wanted to run away," "trembled in his boots," "fought" and "cried" were considered reasonable.  The sentence-frame was not elicited.

Það | er | hardumernnlegt | að | yfirvirna | ótta | sinn.
It  | is | manly          | to | overcome  | fear | one's.


"It is manly to overcome one's fear."

Ottinn | genð | mig | sterlean.
Fear   | made | me  | strong.


Ég | ótterst | bita.     or         Hann | er | bilhroddur.
I  | fear    | cars.       or         He   | is | car-scared (masculine).


Hér | rennur   | kalt | ratu  | milli   | shinns    | og  | hírulds.
I   | trickles | cold | water | between | subdermis | and | epidermis.


"[My fear was like] cold water trickling between the layers of my skin."


Lamað | af | ótta.

Paralyzed with fear.

Þrí | er  | meiri                            | hroðshiprileinn.
You | are | little-devil (affectionate term) | fear-devil.

Þri | ert | slineja.
You | are | a wimp.

Hann | er | gudhræðður.
He   | is | god-fearing.


Hann | er | draughræðður.
He   | is | ghost-fearing.

Ég | óttast | myrkrið.
He | never  |

Hann | er | myrk|fæhinn.
He   | is | dark|fearing.


                                                      
PLEASURE AND ÁNÆGJA


<>[or, it might be preferable to use a word from the kennd category of emotions, for comparison]
 
Wierzbicka does not give a semantic-primitive definition for pleasure.  Possible parameters for "pleasure" include source, ?goal, sensation, duration, potential sinfulness, etc.
            Potential sentence-frames include:

 
It is a pleasure to ___________________ [see you, eat cheesecake, listen to Beethoven, sit in the sun, etc.]
 
Preliminary sentences exploring these and other possibilities include (translated into Icelandic and back-translated into English):
 
 
Other sentences and sentence-frames expressing the parameters and demonstrating the nature of the Icelandic word, ánægja [or, _____],  include:


Mér  | er | sönn | ánægja   | að | hynnast                | þér.
I/Me | is | true | pleasure | to | make your acquaintance | you.

Þetta | veru | ánægjulegar | fréltir.
Those | were | pleasant    | news.

Íþróttir | veita | mér | ánægju.
Sports   | give  | me  | pleasure.

Ég | er | ánægðus  | mið  | lifið.
I  | am | pleasued | with | life.

Ánægjan  | fyllti | mig.
Pleasure | filled | me.

það | var | ótríleg    | ánægja.
It  | was | incredible | pleasure.

það | var | engin | ánægja.
It  | was | no    | pleasure.






 
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